Carroll County Times

Orioles Notebook: Gausman adjusting to bullpen role

BALTIMORE - There is no doubt that Kevin Gausman's future with the Baltimore Orioles will be as a starting pitcher. The Orioles hope that it's as a top-of-the-rotation ace.
But for now, the 22-year-old has moved to a temporary spot in the bullpen. And he's been able to pitch better than he had in his first few career starts.
"I think in some ways it's been good for Kevin," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "Also, it's kind of managed his innings a little bit. We talk about it all the time, balancing what's best for the Orioles, major league team, and what's best for Kevin Gausman."
Right now, it appears Gausman's relief stint is helping both. The right-hander gave up four or more runs in three of his five starts, including giving up seven twice.
As a reliever, Gausman has pitched seven scoreless innings over three outings, earned his first career win on June 28 and has yielded just three hits. He's struck out six, while walking just one.
"He's a sharp guy," Showalter said. "He's in there every day, he likes looking at a lot of videotape and getting to know hitters around the league."
Gausman is not the only Orioles reliever who has had to adapt to the role after being a starter. T.J. McFarland, Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Troy Patton and Jim Johnson all have been starters at some point during their professional career.
Showalter said spending time out there with those guys can only help Gausman.
"We were hoping he was gaining something from hearing those guys talk and talking about hitters and talking about situations," Showalter said. "That's the way it used to be done, guys cut their teeth in the bullpen and worked their way into something else."
For now, that's what Gausman will do. But Showalter added there's a chance he could be starting again soon.
"It's been a little bit of a necessity thing," Showalter said. "It comes from starting pitching. If [they] consistently get deeper into games, you'll probably see Kevin starting somewhere."
WHAT A LIST: Adam Jones hasn't had much trouble against some of the best pitchers in the majors this season. In fact, six of Jones' last eight home runs have come against Mariano Rivera, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Matt Moore, Max Scherzer and R.A. Dickey.
Jones' 16 homers this season have been hit off pitchers with a total of 26 All-Star nods, two Cy Young Award winners, and an AL MVP.
PROSPECT WATCH: Frederick Keys first baseman Christian Walker was named Carolina League Player of the Week, batting .375 in six games. It is the third straight week a Key has won the award, as Michael Ohlman has earned it the past two.
Walker was named to the U.S. roster for the Futures game Sunday, joining Henry Urrutia and Eduardo Rodriguez, both on the World team, as Orioles prospects in the game.
UP NEXT: Wednesday, Wei-Yin Chen makes his first start since being shelved with a right oblique strain on May 13. The Orioles left-hander was 3-3 in his first eight starts of the season.